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5/1/2008
FEAR NOT - THE REPUBLIC WILL SURVIVE A PRESIDENT OBAMA

Mainlining the internet as I do both for my paying gigs at PJM and AT and as someone who just enjoys reading about history and politics, you can’t help but marvel at the varying emotions brought to the surface by Barack Obama’s candidacy.

I’ve made fun of his devoted followers in the past on this site, largely because they’ve got a great big red bullseye tatooed on their chest – easy pickings as they say. Having that much faith in any politician would have caused our Founders (George Washington excluded) much discomfort and worry. The men who sat through that long hot summer of 1787 in Philadelphia in order to bring forth our Constitution had absolutely no illusions about power and an individual’s desire to exercise it. Their greatest fear was that the “mob” would fall in love with one man, blinding themselves to the danger inherent in concentrating power in the hands of the few. Their wisdom has worn well through the ages.

But there is no denying the enormous attraction that candidate Obama brings to the table. He has that incredibly rare gift of being able to inspire people. His rhetoric on the stump touches something deep inside – so American, so seductive to believe that he really is “an agent of change” or that he is somehow a different politician who can bridge the chasm between the races, between ideologies, between all those who feel cut off from the body politic.

I think Obama is sincere in his desire to accomplish these miracles. The problem, of course, is that there is absolutely nothing in his past – absolutely nothing – that would give anyone not taken in by his post-racial, post ideological mantra any hope whatsoever that he has the first clue as to how to go about such a task.

Does intent count for anything? I am dubious. And I am much more concerned that perhaps the candidate himself doesn’t realize – as shown in his remarks about voter’s clinging to values rather than voting what he perceives to be their interests – just how hard his kind of “change” is going to be.

Are we to believe it just an accident of history that Obama, trained as a street organizer using the template supplied by radical leftist Saul Alinsky, would have so many radicals dotting his present and past associations? Not just Wright, of course, but also the Weather Underground bomber William Ayers and his wife Bernadine Dorhn as well as radical Arabs,, radical racialists like Reverend James Meeks, and the real lunatic fringe represented by Father Michael Pfleger, a fixture in radical Chicago politics for many years who “counseled” Obama prior to his presser on Tuesday.

These are not just run of the mill, starry eyed idealists. These are gimlet eyed radicals with decades of experience in the political trenches who are out to make a revolution – a leftist revolution that would turn America into something unrecognizable to the vast majority of us. It is immaterial whether Obama shares their beliefs regarding “change” – a word that takes on an entirely different meaning when keeping in mind the kinds of people Obama has been hanging around with for much of his adult life. The radicals, too, want “change” after all and have developed the strategies to mask their true intent while going about the business of turning America upside down.

Obama almost certainly dabbled in radical leftist politics in the years prior to his run for the US Senate. A blatant tell is that some of his rhetoric reflects a post-modern view of the world where substance takes a back seat to intent and meaning plays second fiddle to an interpretive dialogue with his audience. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” (from a poem by a left-wing-radical-feminist-bisexual poet named June Jordanis) a good example of this interpretive speech where Obama invites the audience to take their own meaning from the words.

As a rhetorical device, it is clever without being gimmicky. But as an indication of what kind of president Obama would make it is as obtuse as you can get without falling into gibberish.

But it doesn’t answer the question of just how radical is Obama? Not very, in my opinion. He is probably attracted to the radical’s certainty and their sense of outrage but beyond that, Obama is much too pragmatic to cater to their whims or listen very closely to their ideas regarding “changing” America. In this respect, Obama would not be leading any kind of crusade to turn America into some kind of socialist paradise. The most statist of proposals – national health care – is actually less draconian than Hillary’s mandate-laden, IRS enforcing disaster of a plan.

And we conservatives better get used to the idea of some kind of national health insurance. The people are “wild for it” as Abe Lincoln said about war and with an almost certain Democratic majority in both houses, it seems a foregone conclusion that Republicans will be fighting a rear guard action on the issue.

As for the rest of Obama’s program, his raising taxes won’t help the economy much and he will be constrained by enormous federal deficits in implementing some of his more problematic social programs. In this respect, his statist tendencies will be blunted by the reality of the budget. Good news for conservatives who will no doubt be surprised that Obama will turn out to be something of a budget hawk – if we can defeat any of his ideas to raise taxes across the board. We know from experience that any additional revenue received through an increase in taxes never, ever goes to reducing the deficit. Only budget cuts will accomplish that goal along with, as history also teaches us, a healthy, growing economy which will automatically put more tax dollars in the goverment’s coffers.

Where Obama worries me most is on national security and foreign policy matters. Here is where his inexperience and addle headed idealism could really cause problems. But he won’t skedaddle from Iraq nor will he be able to effectively engage Iran or Syria. Those are pipe dreams as is any notion of a peace deal between Hamas and Israel. Once again, Obama’s lofty rhetoric will be brought back to earth by reality.

I don’t buy the proposition that Obama would give up on the War on Terror. He will shift resources around and he will probably rename the conflict but beyond that what’s he going to do? Leave the United States wide open to attack? Not likely. And any hint that he would do so by Republicans would be seen for what it is; an attempt to use fear to get votes.

In short, an Obama presidency would not be the end of the world. Conservatives won’t like it. It is doubtful that a President Obama would be able to reach across the aisle very often or know what to do even if he does. He has not shown much inclination in the past to engage in bi-partisanship and campaign rhetoric notwithstanding, I doubt whether he would accomplish much anyway.

Nor will there be a magical racial reconciliation – not as long as the media keeps giving air time to the likes of Sharpton, Wright, and that crew of racialist demogagues. And Obama will probably turn out to be as partisan as any president in the past.

But the republic will survive. It has survived much worse and thrived. Even though an Obama presidency will almost certainly not live up to his rhetoric, those of us who take a realistic view of politicians and the presidency will probably not be too disappointed. His devoted followers may be another story.

But they too, will almost certainly bow to the wisdom of our founders who detested radical change and built into the system of government itself the mechanisms by which change is effected only through careful consideration of all viewpoints and a healthy respect for the minority.

By: Rick Moran at 8:37 am
17 Responses to “FEAR NOT - THE REPUBLIC WILL SURVIVE A PRESIDENT OBAMA”
  1. 1
    Barry Said:
    10:20 am 

    I’m not being flip about it or saying this because I lean to the left on most issues, but compared to the policies of his administration, from the no-sacrifice war spending to the executive branch power grab and so many other Constitutionally-questionable policies, how could Obama, let alone anyone else, be any worse than Bush? Countless conservatives have come out in recent years to call him out on his abandonment of many of their core priciples, too. Don’t forget that today is the 5-year Mission Accomplished anniversary. That sums up the Bush years quite succinctly. So, what’s the worst that’s going to happen with Obama? A move toward universal health care? Stem cell research?

    My point exactly Barry – although the “power grab” and move toward an all powerful executive is, I believe, somewhat overblown by the left. Some of what Bush-Cheney did certainly falls in that category – torture, for instance. But some other exertions of executive authority I see as redressing a balance that had swung too far to Congress.

    Hard to admit Cheney has a point about anything but even Clinton complained about it so it can’t be totally erroneous.

    ed.

  2. 2
    Michael B. Said:
    10:22 am 

    You have missed the biggest threat that an Obama presidency presents- he may very well appoint 2 to 3 Supreme Court justices (almost certainly Stevens’ replacement, and Ginsburg, Scalia and Kennedy are all over 70 years old- health issues are possible over the next 9 years). His liberal voting record, as well as his core beliefs (at least the ones he has shared) ensure that we would have 1, 2 or possibly 3 more Souter clones on the bench. Sorry if this seems hyperbolic, but I am not certain that the Republic will survive with a socialist, hard-left Supreme Court.

    One more disagreement- “there is no denying the enormous attraction that candidate Obama brings to the table”. I deny it. For God’s sake man, what attracts you to him? Do you find him cute? Funny? Honest? Sincere? Smart (OK, I’ll give you that one)?

    I’ve listened to him in every debate, most pressers, and plenty of sound bites, and I am inspired about as much as when I listen to Olberman, Matthews and his other sycophants. I have a healthy fear of him, not because of his skin color, but because of his public agenda, but even more because of a justified fear of his private agenda.

    I agree with your point about appointing SCOTUS judges but the way the court has been going in the recent past, they tend not to take gigantic steps away from precedent. It will be bad but I don’t think it will be the end of the world that some on the right believe.

    As for Obama inspiring me? Just label me as being a sucker for a good speech and let it go at that…

    ed.

  3. 3
    Headhunt23 Said:
    10:34 am 

    I am sure the republic can survive a President Obama, but we’ll never know – at least not in this election cycle.

    As I have been saying for a year (check the comment archives) – the Republicans had a better field of candidates, and now they have a better candidate (although one I don’t like) for a general election campaign. Both Obama and HRC are fatally flawed and will provide a Dukakis like showing in November.

  4. 4
    Still Liberal Said:
    2:31 pm 

    Obama’s appeal is much more than being a good speechmaker. The right/left split, as it is currently being played out, has reduced politics to “the right is good, the left is bad; no, the left is good, the right is bad” posturing.

    Thinking people are sick of this. Sometimes good conservative ideas are very necessary for the country and sometimes good liberal ideas are very necessary for the country. If you say that conseratives never have good ideas or that liberals never have good ideas, you are then part of the current problem. While admittedly oversimplistic, conservatism is primarily about maintaining the positive parts of the status quo and liberalism is primarily about changing the negative parts of the status quo. For a very simple example, conservatives see outward signs of solid patriotism as a good thing (think of the flag lapel pin flap), while liberals tend to be concerned about excessive displays of patriotism (again, the lapel pin flap)as a way of not dealing with current problems by overemphasizing the good.

    Policy at any level is on a pendulum swing from right to left and then back again. This is necessary and not bad. Sometimes circumstances make bold changes in national policies necessary (Roosevelt’s work to end the Depression) and sometimes holding on to what is current policy is necessary (Reagan’s steadfastness in backing down and ending the Soviet Union). Now we just bash each other without respect or the even considering the possibility that our ideas may not be correct for the current circumstances.

    Obama is an overt liberal, but one who hold out the possibility of changing the tone and intractedness of current political debate. He may or may not be able to do so, but acknowledgement of the need is a large part of the attraction to Sen. Obama.

    Obama is an overt liberal, but one who hold out the possibility of changing the tone and intractedness of current political debate. He may or may not be able to do so, but acknowledgement of the need is a large part of the attraction to Sen. Obama.

    You are dreaming. What is there in Obama’s past that gives you one iota of confidence that he can “change the political debate?” Those are words – meaningless drivel. McCain also says the tone has to change – fine. At least with him we have something of a track record of accomplishment in reaching across the aisle to work with democrats.

    But do I believe he will be any more successful if elected? Nope.

    Ed.

  5. 5
    willard naslund Said:
    3:25 pm 

    Surely the Republic will survive an Obama presidency, just as we survived Jimmy Carter. But the point really is that we are now in different times, and a naive and trusting president with no real understanding of islamoterrorism could remove the proactive defenses pushed hard by Bush that have so far kept us from another 9/11—and much worse. Forget about crashing planes into buildings, because Biological and nuclear terrorism would make 9/11 look like a picnic. So even though the republic can survive, it may well survive in an extremely damaged state, because those who want to kill us took advantage of the window of opportunity provided by a naive and trusting president.

  6. 6
    edward cropper Said:
    3:35 pm 

    This country has survived a great deal, but it had a different caliber of citizens to help it survive.
    There has always been an element in our make-up that welcomed a quasi dictator. Huey Long had admirers
    outside Louisiana. Wilson and Both Roosevelt’s had the making of a benevolent iron man. Kennedy had them
    swooning in the isles.
    The greatest generation that survived the great depression and world war two are going fast, and those who followed hard on their footsteps are aging and dying also. When that generation is gone there will be no one left who remembers the USA as a Constitutional Republic, and will have nothing to compare our current welfare state to.

  7. 7
    Aaron Said:
    4:41 pm 

    While the Constitution was designed to limit the destructive power of bad presidents, the last seven years have been a testament to what shenanigans are possible when the president and congress march in lock-step. If this happens with the Democrats in power, I’m hoping the relatively fractured nature of the Democratic party will prevent any really horrible laws from being passed.

    No matter who is elected president, I believe the next administration will correct some of the abuses of the current administration. We’ll see less cronyism, an independent Justice Department, and more openness in general. And I bet the Republicans, as the minority party in Congress, will conveniently rediscover fiscal responsibility and help make it a priority.

    On a side note, I think that that Obama, a former Constitutional law professor, will do as much to protect and promote the Constitution as Bush, a former oil man, has done to favor the oil industry.

  8. 8
    Still Liberal Said:
    5:41 pm 

    “You are dreaming. What is there in Obama’s past that gives you one iota of confidence that he can “change the political debate?” Those are words – meaningless drivel. McCain also says the tone has to change – fine. At least with him we have something of a track record of accomplishment in reaching across the aisle to work with democrats.

    But do I believe he will be any more successful if elected? Nope.

    Ed.”

    Dear Ed.

    I did not in any way state that I thought Obama could accomplish anything. The point was only an additional explanation of his attractiveness to certain voters.

    By the by, as a self-proclaimed historian, what would you have been seen in Abraham Lincoln’s rather minimal history of success that indicated he would be the powerful force to hold the Union together during it’s most trying time? Sketchier than Obama, from my reading. Sometimes the times make the man and sometimes the woman makes the times.

    Me? I am voting for McCain. He is more the centrist liberal I am looking for.

    Good point about Lincoln. I would say that no human being could have been prepared for that situation – and yes, I believe in the idea that many political/historical figures only show their true worth in desperate times.

    btw – Lincoln would probably have lost t he election of 1860 if the Democrats were united. Douglas saw his vote split in the south with Breckenridge and the north with Bell.

    ed.

  9. 9
    Robetr Lewis Said:
    7:13 pm 

    A former Obama client, Ahmad Baravati, changed the name of his tax exempt organization IRAN EARTHQUAKE RELIEF FUND to American Care Society

    http://www.webofdecption.com

  10. 10
    Michael Said:
    3:05 am 

    Obama is green, the Pastor Wright debacle shows it. He defended Wright, he even stated he would never disown him. Basically Wright was an Uncle to him. Just a month later after his the media campaign, Obama saw it was affecting people’s outlook on him. So, he decided to eat his words and disown his former Pastor.

    The questions remain, Pastor Wright is a racist and very anti-American, and one wonders how much influence did that church have on Obama, and how would affect his judgement if he were elected. When Wright took over that church, some people left early on, because he was too radical. Obama stayed.

    Now as far as particulars, who knows Obama policy to help solve the housing crisis? Who knows his policy on solving raising food costs due to bio-fuels and a falling dollar? What’s his plan for creating jobs, and what about China, what is his plan for slowing down the cost of jobs to that country? What is his plan about the terrorism in the middle east?

    We know he wants to pull out of Iraq, and have some troops invade Pakistan without their permission in search for Bin Laden and fight the terrorists. We know he wants to expand health care. We know he wants to talk to all the enemies of the United States.

    Basically he has said very little on the particulars. He’s been more show than substance, part of that is not his fault because he’s only a 2nd term Senator. But the other parts he doesn’t mention might indicate he is more radical but doesn’t want to alarm as many people as possible so he avoids mentioning those particulars.

  11. 11
    Whatever Said:
    3:50 am 

    #1

    Give me a break with the Mission Accomplished speech already. For crying out loud. The banner was for the USS Abe Lincoln, which was being retired that day. Did you actually read the text or listen to Bush’s speech? Of course you didn’t.

    Furthermore, the banner had the effect of commemorating that one mission had already been accomplished—the dethroning of the Hussein regime.

    I mean, seriously, no plastic turkey reference? Saddams kills Mandela?

    “from the no-sacrifice war”
    I love it. An anti-war guy complaining that the President didn’t ask him to sacrifice something for a cause he doesn’t believe in. Bush hasn’t called on Americans to brush their teeth every day, either, but I still do. Fancy that.

    Oh, wait, Bush did ask every American to sacrifice something. It’s called patience over a long protracted war. But I guess you missed it, huh, Bar, since it was spoken in the Mission Accomplished speech.

  12. 12
    No Runny Eggs » Blog Archive » The Morning Scramble - 5/2/2008 Pinged With:
    7:16 am 

    [...] travelers on the Left believe that since government prints all the money, they own all the money. – Rick Moran says we will survive even an Obama Presidency. I’m not so sure; the clock is so close to midnight. [...]

  13. 13
    Barry Said:
    8:07 am 

    For Whatever: Wasn’t it the Mission Accomplished speech that Bush declared the major combat operations were over? Did you forget that little line from the speech? And you must be one of those new no-tax-yet-spend-spend-spend Republicans who sees no problem with giving a blank check to an endless Iraq quagmire. Nefore you get too sloppy with your “anti-war” generalizations, I believe—like many Americans—the fight in Afghanistan is the right idea. It’s the debacle of the Iraq invasion that is the colossal mistake that will harm this country for generations to come. And Bush has tried to play it both ways… On one hand he calls the war one of the most important fights for America, but yet he tells us to keep shopping. Oh, and there’s plenty of room for tax cuts while we’re mortgaging the country’s future to pay for the war. Marvelous!! You believe his idea of sacrifice is patience? Are you joking?

  14. 14
    HE HATE ME Said:
    10:36 am 

    #10- Actually Hussein is a first term senator and doesn’t seem able to even decide whether he is for or against bills he votes on; hence the need to just announce he is “present”. Or maybe it just serves to hide how far left he is. You know, in actuality he is the most liberal senator in Congress?

    But so many people don’t want to hear his deficiencies or how he got where he is now. We see people across the political spectrum apparently mesmerized by him and willing to buy into the catch words hope! and change! Of course the real compromiser is elderly John McCain who is only to happy to cave to liberal interests on many occasions. The same can be said of that most compassionate conservative Dubya, who kisses Teddy Kennedy’s ring, only to have fatboy condemn Bush for a litany of moonbat reasons.

    No doubt plenty of you buy into the theme that we will unite better with a “black” President. Yes, he was so great at working for racial harmony what with his 20 years with Rev. Wright. Looks to me like he doesn’t really care what Wright says about the Joos and whitey. What matters is what he says about Obama being duplicitous over reasons for criticizing Wright.

  15. 15
    GW Said:
    10:37 am 

    I am far less sanguine about the damage of that an Obama presidency could do to our nation.

    At a minimum, the next president will determine the majority on the Supreme Court – possibly for decades to come. I see Obama looking for people far to the left of Ginsburg. But for the areas foreign policy and national security, that will be the most dangerous power a President Obama would wield.

    As to Iraq, I am flatly amazed how many intelligent people, you included Rick, seem to willing to disregard Obama’s iron clad promise to withdraw, and instead project onto Obama your own belief that no Presidential candidate could be that stupid. Yes, yes they can. And the ways in which that will damage and diminish America are near incalculable. What that eventually will mean is that the price we are going to pay in blood and gold to even attempt to unscrew the damage will be exponentially larger. With one kid in the military and another on the way, I feel far more secure about their future with the military fighting the radicals in Iraq today than I do about their future two years into an Obama presidency, when they are sent into Iraq as part of Obama’s utterly insane QRF force. If Obama wins, I will be counting the days until their time in service is up.

    You look to history to state that America will survive an Obama presidency, but we have never faced the existential challenges that we do today, not only to our national security and foreign policy, but to the very make up of our democracy. Will we survive four years of Obama – sure, much like a parapalegic in a car crash.

  16. 16
    Whatever Said:
    11:48 am 

    >>It’s the debacle of the Iraq invasion that is the colossal mistake that will harm this country for generations to come.< <

    Yeah, having an Iraq that is friendly to the US and the West and an ally in fighting terrorism, that really strikes fear in me.

    Anyway, take it up with Clinton and the 98 Congress. They’re the ones who declared regime charge the official US position toward Iraq. 73 senators and an overwhelming majority of Americans supported the ‘03 invasion, too.

    In short, if you’re gonna blame Bush, blame Clinton, blame Congress and blame the American people and the UN (2 resolutions) too. Oh, yeah, and blame Hussein, too. He could have come clean about his weapons programs, etc.

    But because Iraq hasn’t turned into New Hampshire in 5 years, all is lost?

    Blank check: Hmmmmm. The only real duty of the fed govt is to protect citizens from foreign and domestic invaders. How about all the blank checks in fighting poverty, drugs, retirement woes, etc.? Concerned about that? I am.

    Anyway, Barry, you seem like a decent person. We’ll just have to agree to disagree. Take care….

  17. 17
    milo Said:
    7:22 pm 

    We know from experience that any additional revenue received through an increase in taxes never, ever goes to reducing the deficit.

    Are you Rip Van Winkle? Were you not alive and sentient during the Clinton Presidency?

    No. Yes. No.

    Rank dishonesty, Rick.

    Not so, my friend. The growth of the economy brought in 10 times more revenue than Clinton’s tax rise on the top tier. And spending increased many times the amount of revenue brought in by the tax rise.

    ed.

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